Cornmeal Hot Rolls

My Grandma was known for her hot rolls and cinnamon rolls.  Every holiday season, I have the honor of cooking these two items for my family. I do not do it all the time because, well frankly, it is so time consuming!  Grandma made people feel special when she made these items because of the amount of time and love put into them.  What I do like about the recipe given today, is the fact that it is the same dough recipe for both.  All you have to do to achieve the cinnamon rolls is to roll them out and place a butter, sugar and cinnamon mixture in them.  I have even used jams to make the filling which is also delicious!

Today, I share with you the dough recipe, which has been in my family for years.  Keep in mind, when making this recipe, you must just have to have to let go of being exact and instead rely on your senses to know if it is the right consistency.  Old fashioned means old ways of just knowing.  This takes practice, which I still have a great deal to make these exactly like grandma’s!


Here is the recipe:

Grandma Betty’s Cornmeal Rolls

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup water

2 cakes of yeast (1 oz)

1 pint warm water

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup oil

2 1/4 quarts flower

1/4 cup dry milk

1 tbsp. salt

Combine cornmeal and 1 cup water.  Cook to thicken and remove from heat.  Add oil to this.  Put yeast, warm water and sugar in mixing bowl. Let stand few minutes and then add oil and cornmeal to mixture.  Sift flour, dry milk and salt and add to mixture.  Knead well if making by hand or about 5 minutes on mixer.  Let rise until double in bulk.  Punch down and knead and shape into rolls.  Let rise again until double in bulk.  Bake about 15 minutes in 4525 degree oven.  Yields about 25 or 30.

I hope you try this special recipe!  It has meant so much to my family for many years!

Sugar Cookies

We ve developed a tradition in this house.  It really wasn’t one we tried to do, it just happened!  Every year, I seem to be behind on my Christmas baking, and end up making sugar cookies on the 23rd of December.  Not early, but late in the day, so they are impossible to decorate!  We have begun waiting until the 24th to decorate in between masses.  My kids are still young enough to be in the children’s service, but they are old enough to acolyte at the midnight one.  So on Christmas Eve, we attend church at 5pm, come home and then head off to mass at 1030.  During the time at home, I have tried to keep them occupied so they will stay calm.  We make reindeer food, watch a movie, eat grilled pimento cheese sandwiches and chips and color Christmas cookies.  This has seemed to work out so well, that it is now a tradition!  Another tradition to this cookie decorating is that the last one can always be piled high with frosting and consumed by the decorator.  I try my hardest not to judge on how much frosting is on the cookie because, after all, it is Christmas!

I use my great grandmothers Christmas Crisp Holiday Sugar Cookie recipe, and they always make the best cookies!  So I thought I would share this recipe with you today.


Christmas Crisp Holiday Sugar Cookie

Cream 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar together.  Add two well beaten eggs.  1 tablespoon vanilla and beat until light.  Dissolve 1/2 teaspoons of soda in 3 tablespoons sour cream (or buttermilk).  Sift three cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Add the sour cream mixture and flour to the creamed together ingredients and blend well.  Chill until very cold.  Roll until thin as a dime on floured surface and cut into Christmas shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes until a delicate golden brown.

I have written the recipe exactly how my great grandmother wrote it in the Record Book.  A couple of changes can be made to the ingredients.  Instead of lard you can use shortening or another cup of butter.  If you use butter, I would use slightly less than a 1/2 cup and make sure it is very very cold!  Also, I do not roll mine out quite so thin.  I like a fatter cookie! to frost, I use a butter cream recipe.  Makes the cookies that much better!

Do you have any vintage recipes in your Christmas traditions?

Saturday Morning Donut Holes

So deliciously wrong.  These donuts are yummy and sinful all in the same bite.  But I must say, there is nothing better than a fresh donut, and these will leave your family begging you to make them again.  Although, I do not recommend making these on a daily.  More of a once a week or once a year event.  Not because they were difficult to make, quite the contrary, but instead, they are chalked full of calories and sugar.  But everyone needs a good treat every now and then, so please enjoy my great grandmothers recipe for delicious Sparkle Donut Balls!


Sparkle Donut Balls Recipe by Hulda Helberg
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
sugar and cinamon for rolling
powdered sugar for rolling
Beat egg in bowl with rotary beater until thick and light.  Add sugar, beating well.  Stir in melted butter.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix well.  Dough will be very soft.(And I found crumbly)
Mold into balls and drop into 1 1/2″ of fat. (I used canola oil)  Apiece of dough will brown in 1 minute to tell if it is hot enough.  Fry for two to three minutes or until golden brown on all sides.  Remove from fat with slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain.  When cooled, roll in cinamon and sugar mixture or powdered sugar.
The final part was a great deal of fun to do with my kids!

Yellow Cake Recipe

Recently, I made a scrumptious home made yellow cake with oh so yummy home made chocolate frosting.   This is a vintage recipe, so have a great time feeling nostalgic as you make it!


Yellow Cake

3 cups sifted flour

2 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus two tablespoons butter

1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 large unbeaten eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Start by heating oven at 350 degrees.  Grease then line with wax paper, bottoms of two 9″ cake pans.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

With electric mixer at medium speed, thoroughly mix butter with sugar, then eggs, until very light and fluffy-about 4 min. Then at low speed, beat in alternately, just until smooth, flour mixture in fourths and combined milk and vanilla in thirds.  Turn into pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until done.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; peel off wax paper; cool on racks.

Rich chocolate frosting

6 tablespoons butter

3 cups sifted confectioners sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash salt

1 bag chocolate chips, melted

About 5 tablespoons of milk

In medium bowl, cream butter.  Add part of sugar, blending gradually after each addition.  Mix in vanilla, salt, chocolate.  Add remaining sugar alternately with milk, beating after each addition until smooth.  Then beat hard until frosting is creamy and of spreading consistency.


Enjoy, and I cannot wait to see what you have been making!



VIntage Recipe-Happy Hour Cake


I love cooking vintage recipes!  I especially love cooking from my Great Grandmothers cookbook she made for my mother.  This book is a compilation of recipes dating from the 1940’s through 1960’s, and given to my mother in 1968.  It was made with much love to help prepare my mom for marriage.  There are fun stories of married life, but also delicious recipes from magazines, newspapers and creations from my great-grandmother herself.  A very special book indeed.

Last year, I began cooking a recipe a day, but then life began to takeover, and suddenly I could not keep up anymore.  I still want to make a cookbook of vintage recipes, but, I may have to be more creative with my time to carry out this goal.

I decided to post today a fun and very different recipe for cake, called “Happy Hour Cake”.  This is a recipe from my grandmother, and I must admit I was nervous to try it.  I did not know how beer would taste in a cake.  I mean, we love to put brandy and sweeter alcohols in our cakes, but beer?  To me this is different.

But, I womaned up and cooked this cake, and to my surprise, I like it!  So here is the recipe for you to enjoy, and have a happy time eating it.


Happy Hour Cake

1 1/2 cups of sugar

2/3 cups shortening ( I used butter, my son is very allergic to shortening.  I am sure you can also use animal lard as well.)

2 well beaten eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1 1/2 cups chopped dates ( I left these out because I did not have dates)

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I left these out due to a horrible allergy to nuts in our family)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1- 12 oz can of beer

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add dry ingredients, add beaten eggs and mix well.

Add bananas, dates, nuts and vanilla and mix well until blended.

Add beer to blend.

Bake in large, long pan at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes

Carmel Icing

5 tablespoons butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

Boil together for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add vanilla.

Add 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and mix well until it is the right consistency to spread on cake.


A Random 1950’s Meal

Well, here is an interesting 1950’s lunch.
I decided to cook from the Record Book, so I opened up the book, and found the most interesting recipe:  Sloppy Joe Franks.  Nothing screamed 1950’s to me more than hotdogs served in a tomato sauce, made by tomato soup no doubt, and yellow squash.

Not entirely sure what I was thinking, but it did end up being a kid favorite, and I am sure grown ups can fancy this up with brats and more fresh ingredients.  This does make a good lunch though, and I hope that you will take this recipe and make it your own.

Sloppy Joe Franks

1/2 cup chopped onion                                                 1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter                                                     1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 pound franks (8-10) cut into thirds                             1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 can condensed tomato rice soup                                4 drops tobasco
Cook onion in butter till soft.  Add remaining ingredients.  Let bubble slowly without covering, about 15 minutes or till sauce is nice and thick.  Stir once in a while near the end of cooking.  Ladle into toasted buttered buns.  Makes 8-10.
Have a great weekend!

Retro Night

I have started a fun little tradition for our weeks, and that would be Retro Night. I am super excited about this is since I have made it my mission to cook my way through the vintage recipes that have been given to me from both sides of my family.  But instead of cooking them exactly, I try to change the recipe to fit my family now.  Sometimes, the recipe does fit, ad I will keep it, but for the most part all the processed foods used in the fifties do not fit my family, especially with all our food allergies.

So we will start with the Sloppy Joes.  We all know and love Sloppy Joes, but really the 1950’s version can be kind of bland. This is the recipe that I had:

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound ground beef

1 can condensed tomato-rice soup

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon of steak sauce

1 tablespoon of prepared mustard

4 drops of tobacco sauce

Sautee the onion in butter, add ground beef.  After the ground beef is browned add all of the ingredients and when it gets bubbly, cook for 15 minutes.

Here is mine:


2 packages of hot Italian sausage removed from the casings.

2 cans of fresh tomato sauce.  You can use store bought as well, but we can our own sauce in the summer.

3 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon season salt

1/2 tablespoon celery salt

salt and pepper to taste

as much tobacco as you want

Place sausage, which has been removed from casing in a cast iron skillet.  Use spatula to ground in the skillet.  While the sausage is cooking, place in mixing bowl the tomato sauce and all of the seasonings.  Whisk together and taste and adjust to your liking.  When the sausage is done, drain any excess grease, then pour tomato mixture over sausage.  Let simmer for 30-40 minutes for all the flavors to combine.

Serving suggestions:  place on an open face piece of sour dough bread and serve with a creamy Hivarti chees.  Of course you can use whatever bread and cheeses you have, but we used this pairng and it was fantastic!

Side dishes that were served were retro as well.  Olive stuffed deviled eggs, which two of my children loved, and buttered mixed veggies.  Which I can give you both of these recipes if requested.


Tonight, we are back to normal food, yummy pork loin with twice baked potatoes and broccoli with garlic.

Nothing wrong with a little adventure!